The holiday season is upon us. No matter what holiday you celebrate, there are ways to make these occasions more sustainable.
Many holiday traditions include gift giving – let’s first look at ways to think about greening these practices:
- Buy local: buying from local establishments makes our community more sustainable in multiple ways. A higher percentage of your purchase price stays in the community when you shop at a locally owned establishment. Plus, buying local products often cuts down on fuel needed to transport goods. Learn more from the Louisville Independent Business Association. Find a list of some 9th District local businesses on the Frankfort Avenue Business Association website.
- If you get a new electronic item for a gift, recycle your old item through Eco-Cell and help raise funds for the Green Triangle’s sustainability efforts. Handheld electronic items, laptops and smaller, are accepted. Find a list of locations in the 9th district where you can drop off your electronic items to be recycled. If you have larger electronic items to recycle, like microwaves, computers, and televisions, take them to the Louisville Waste Reduction Center at 636 Meriwether Avenue. Find acceptable items and hours. If you receive other gifts and feel the need to clean out old items, find charitable organizations that accept used clothes and other household items instead of throwing items away.
- Make a gift. Some of the most meaningful presents are handmade.
- Don’t buy a gift item just for the sake of buying it. Can’t think of anything that Aunt Susan needs? Buy her a gift certificate to her favorite local establishment or restaurant. Or, make a donation in her name to a local charity.
- Avoid buying gifts with excessive packaging.
- Take reusable bags on shopping trips.
- Try using alternatives to traditional wrapping paper. (Use newspaper, dish towels, or homemade paper made from decorated paper bags.) If you use wrapping paper, make sure it is recyclable. Try to buy wrapping paper with recycled content. Reuse gift bags and tissue paper from year to year.
- If you are buying electronics or appliances as gifts purchase energy efficient models.
Family holiday meals:
- Avoid disposable dishes. If you must use them, try to find recyclable or compostable products.
- Try to use some local produce. Some of Louisville farmers’ markets are still open in December. See a list here.
- Compost organic materials leftover from preparing meals.
- If you decorate with lights for the holiday season, purchase energy efficient versions such as LED bulbs, and limit the amount of time that they are in use.
- If you have a live Christmas tree, turn it into mulch through Louisville Metro Solid Waste Management Services Tree-Cycling, which is available following the holiday. Check the Solid Waste website for dates, to be announced later in December.
Shopping locally helps build community and support our local economy. See the information below from Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA) about an exciting contest to entice you to buy local this holiday season.
The Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA), an alliance of almost 600 locally owned and independent businesses, has launched the 6th annual Shift Your Shopping Contest. From November 20th to January 6th, LIBA will encourage shoppers to choose local and independent businesses for their holiday purchases. Making the shift to local independents is one of the fastest ways to build a strong local economy and create jobs in our community.*
A recent study of Louisville-area businesses shows that for every $100 spent at a locally-owned, independent business, $55 is reinvested locally, whereas only $14 is reinvested when that same money is spent at a national chain. By shopping local, consumers also help to preserve the unique community character of the Metro Louisville area.
But shopping from independent retailers this holiday season will yield more than just that warm and fuzzy feeling of supporting the local economy for one lucky person. The rules are easy: collect receipts from five member businesses by 1/6/14, mail in or present the receipts for review at one of the sponsor sites (Highland Cleaners or Feeders Supply), and you’ll be entered into the drawing to win $1000 in gift certificates to LIBA businesses. (Once receipts are verified, they are returned to the owner.) The winner of the Shift Your Shopping Contest will be drawn live on Monday, January 13, 2014 on WAVE-3 Listens at 12:30pm, and they will get to choose from close to 600 LIBA businesses where they wish to spend their $1,000. Download a contest entry form.
To celebrate the campaign, the public is invited to a launch event on Small Business Saturday, November 30th at Westport Village, 1315 Herr Lane (near Amazing Green Planet),10am to noon, press conference at 10:30am (specials will continue all day).
* American Independent Business Alliance – The Multiplier Effect of Local Independent Business Ownership – http://www.amiba.net/resources/multiplier-effect
Good Garbage, a warehouse of discarded scrap materials for creative reuse, is announcing their Grand Opening Open House on November 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There will be plenty of specials, great items from some awesome reuse artists for sale, opportunities to sign up for classes, and raffles all day! There will also be an amazing display of artwork created by the students at the Kentucky School for the Blind with Liz Richter, an Artist in Residency at KMAC. Good Garbage is located at 2020 Duncan Street, 40203, in Portland.
If you are an educator or know any educators, there will be an Educator Open House just for them on Wednesday, November 27, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Lots of fun and free things are planned.
Good Garbage is selling memberships and signups for classes have begun. Memberships start at $20 for Educators and Students and $25 for others and offer discounts all year, special sales, and monthly raffles. If you register for a class or purchase a membership prior to December 1, you will receive a 10% discount. Check out the Membership and Workshop pages at http://www.goodgarbage.org/.
Though the temperatures are cooler, there are still plenty of ways to get local produce, meat, and other items for your Thanksgiving dinner to make a local feast. The following are some ideas to find local food this time of year, though they are by no means the only options in Louisville. Find a farmers’ market near you that is still open this time of year. Or, visit Grasshoppers’ Thanksgiving Market at 1501 Portland Avenue on November 25 from Noon to 6:00 pm and November 26 from 10:00 am to 6:00pm. In District 9, The Reynold’s Grocery Company, located at 1813 Frankfort Avenue in Clifton, sells local food. The Root Cellar also offers local food at its locations in Germantown and Old Louisville.
There are many reasons to purchase local food, including:
- You support local farmers, helping preserve farm land and strengthening the local economy.
- Your food arrives to you fresh from the farm: healthy options with amazing fresh taste.
- You can ask growers’ about their techniques and choose sustainable options.
- Less fuel is used to transport your food, cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions.
- By participating in the local food economy, you have the opportunity to grow community.
The 9th District Urban Services District (USD) will have junk collection set-out on a select weekend in December 2013, depending on your address. You may begin setting out your junk Friday afternoon prior to your junk pick-up week and must have it all out by Monday at 6:00 AM. For your specific junk set-out weekend please visit Louisville Metro’s Map It! website and enter your address or call the 9th District Office at 574-1109. For collection guidelines please visit Solid Waste’s website.
From December 2-7, to correspond with Junk Pick Up dates, River Metals Recycling (RMR) is inviting 9th District Residents to receive higher rates to recycle metal: an extra $10 per net ton for sheet metal/appliances and 5 cents per pound extra for aluminum cans and copper. To participate, print the coupon attached to the Green Triangle or 9th District eNews on November 20 or 21 and bring your scrap metal to RMR at 2045 River Road between December 2-7. Thanks to RMR for offering this incentive and for its support of the Green Triangle. Go green with RMR and get your green! Keep metal out of the landfill by taking it to River Metals to be recycled instead of setting it out for Junk Pick Up. Find your Junk Pick Up dates on the Louisville website.
The Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is offering free soil tests for Metro Louisville homeowners. A standard soil test – which covers what most homeowners need to assess their fertilizer needs – is usually $7. To encourage testing and avoid excess use of fertilizers and chemicals that wash away with rain and can pollute streams and waterways, the Jefferson County SWCD provides up to 2 vouchers per household to cover the $7 processing fee for a standard soil test. To participate, you must request a soil test voucher. Email voucher requests (with name, physical address, phone, and # of vouchers) to: email@example.com. Vouchers can also be picked up at the SWCD office or requested by regular mail (4233 Bardstown Rd., Suite 100-A – 40208). Questions – call 502.499.1900.
The Center For Neighborhoods is now accepting registrations for the Neighborhood Institute 2014. Class size is limited. Enrollment is based on first come, first served. The Neighborhood Institute is a leadership education program that started in 1987. The purpose of the program is to equip neighborhood leaders with skills and resources needed to initiate positive change in the community through their neighborhood associations. See a brochure for the program here.
The classes will run every Tuesday (January 28-April 15, 2014) from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. with dinner provided at New Directions Housing Corp, 1000 E Liberty Street. The Neighborhood Institute Spring 2014 is open to all neighborhoods, Metro Council Districts, and the whole community. To register for the 12-week program, contact Lisa at 502.589.0343 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 3:00pm at its last meeting of the year, the Louisville Metro Sustainability Committee will host the second annual All Call for Sustainability Groups at City Hall, 601 W. Jefferson Street. Committee chair Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh is looking for sustainability organizations and businesses to present for two minutes each about their work and offerings. The goal is to introduce the community to innovative, inspiring, creative people and initiatives related to sustainability.
Your organization or business will have two minutes of free publicity to tell Louisville about your mission or services. The meeting will be broadcast live on MetroTV, rerun, and posted online. Speakers will be granted spots to speak on a first-come first-served basis, however preference will be given to groups that did not participate in last year’s event. The first 20 new organizations/businesses will receive slots to speak, and if all spaces are not filled by December 5, organizations who presented last year that would like to present this year will be considered. The hope is to spotlight organizations that do not have a big budget. If you would like to address the committee, please contact Councilwoman Ward-Pugh’s office at 574-1109 or email Katie Holmes at email@example.com.
Do you ever find yourself standing at a TARC stop wondering if you have missed your bus? I know that I do. Now, we are in luck: there is a new website on which you can track the location of TARC buses in real time. View the map here. The map on Yourmapper.com refreshes every minute and there is an option to show all TARC stops.
Between this new map and TARC’s map routing through Google Maps, you should be set when it comes to finding a bus near you.
As a follow up from last month’s blog post on Greener Leaf Disposal Tips, here is the information for Louisville Metro Goverment’s leaf drop off locations:
Louisville Metro Government will offer three options for dropping off fall leaves at no cost. The free leaf drop-off service by Metro Public Works will run from Tuesday, November 12 – Saturday, December 7. The drop off sites will be closed Sundays and Mondays. The service will also not be available on Thanksgiving (Nov. 28) and the day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 29).The leaf drop-off sites and schedule:
- 10500 Lower River Road (corner of Bethany Lane) – Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
- East District Public Works Yard, 595 Hubbards Lane – Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Waste Reduction Center, 636 Meriwether Avenue – Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Only loose leaves will be accepted. All containers and bags must be emptied and the bags disposed of off-site by anyone who brings them. The leaves are turned into compost and used for mulching projects throughout Louisville. For more information, call MetroCall 311 or visit www.louisvilleky.gov.